Stowe, VT - Jim Flynn's BestWeekends

Stowe, VT

Stowe, VT Overview

Nestled in the valley between the Green Mountains on the west and the Hogback Mountains on the east, lies the picturesque village of Stowe, Vermont. The quintessential Currier & Ives Vermont town with its white church steeple, covered bridge and magnificent mountain views is the perfect weekend getaway. This beautiful town is what everyone envisions Vermont to be like. The smell of fresh grass in summer or wood burning in winter awaken your senses as you approach this so charming Village.

While it is called the Ski Capital of the East, renowned for Mount Mansfield’s “Front Four”, that name belies the truly year-round appeal of the resort. I have enjoyed every season here, the colors more vivid than other places; the green fields of Spring, the colorful wildflowers of Summer, the browns, reds and golds of Fall and the stark whiteness of Winter.

The beauty of Stowe has enticed moviemakers over the years as a prime location for films. The Trapp Family Property was the site of the top of the mountain shots of Julie Andrews in the “Sound of Music” and the Edson Hill Manor hosted the movie “Four Seasons” with Alan Alda.

If you are a skier or snow boarder, there is no better place to enjoy those sports in the East than Stowe. It is also a mecca for fly fisherman, the perfect place for hiking and boasts a magnificent Recreation Path which winds through the woods.

2008 saw the opening of the Stowe Mountain Lodge and the transformation of the Spruce Peak mountain area. Slope side accommodations, a new golf course, dining, shops, high speed chair lift and new snow making capabilities have made Stowe as good a destination as any out West.


When To Go

Stowe is a wonderful weekend destination any time of year. While most people think of Stowe in terms of winter, which brings an average seasonal snowfall of over 200 inches, Spring awakens the land with rushing streams and brooks of melting snow and a vivid green that gave the Mountain range its name. In Summer the meadows are filled with wildflowers and the Fall foliage is so spectacular it will take your breath away.

Getting There

Stowe is a 5 1/2 hour drive from New York City and 3 1/2 hours from Boston. A Friday morning departure gets you into Stowe in time for lunch. Leave mid-day on Sunday and you are home in time for dinner.

Stowe can also be reached by air into Burlington Vermont, about a 40 minute drive from Stowe and is also accessible by Amtrak to Burlington from New York.

If you are going to Stowe from the south and want a real treat, make your way to Quechee, Vermont and have lunch at Simon Pearce You’ll enjoy a wonderful meal in a dramatic and quite spectacular riverside setting.

Getting Around

Virtually all activity is centered in town or up the Mountain Road. There is a shuttle that travels from town up to the mountain and back down the Mountain Road from 8am to 10pm. While this eliminates the need for a car, in truth, you cannot really enjoy the area completely without a car.

Things To Do

Stowe is truly a year round resort offering a wide range of activities. In Winter there is downhill and cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, sleigh rides and horseback riding. Spring, Summer and Fall offer hiking, golf, tennis, canoeing and horseback riding. Fly fishing for trout in Spring is a local favorite and hot air ballooning over the mountains in Summer is an exciting experience.

Throughout the year you can enjoy the Recreation Path which begins in town and winds its way 5.5 miles toward the mountain through the woods, beside bubbling brooks and next to open fields. Depending on the season you can walk it, bike it, cross-country ski it, roller blade it or snow shoe it. It is wonderful introduction to the beauty of Stowe. There are sights to see, shops to explore, art galleries in which to browse and antiques stores to search for treasures.

Golf

The beautiful Stowe Country Club, right off the Mountain Road is a marvelous track cut into the mountains. The Stowe Mountain Golf Club has been hailed as “one of the top 10 new courses” in America. Open to members and resort guests.

Skiing

If you are an expert, you will want to test yourself at the “Front Four” at Mansfield. As an intermediate, I like Big Spruce Mountain, particularly with the new high speed lift and snow making. beginners will enjoy Easy Mile, Toll Road and Little Spruce. There is also a gondola that connects the two mountains.

For cross country go to the Trapp Family Lodge has been called “one of the best cross country ski centers in the world,” by Ski Magazine. Most challenging, beautiful scenery and the opportunity to ski to the Slayton pasture cabin, about 3 miles, and enjoy hot chocolate and lunch by a roaring fire.

Tennis

Topnotch Resort has 10 outdoor, four indoor courts.

Walking/Running/Biking

There may be no better place anywhere to walk, run, bike, roller blade or cross country ski or snowshoe than the Stowe Recreation Path. 5.5 miles from town toward the mountain, the path winds its way through the woods, beside farm fields and along a rushing brook. It is truly a remarkable experience. If you enjoy these activities, the Rec path alone is reason to come to Stowe

Kayaking/Canoeing

Another great way to experience the breathtaking Vermont scenery is on a canoe or kayak trip. There are plenty of options close to Stowe; Lake Elmore is easily accessible and has a state campground and beach; Green River Reservoir is pristine and undeveloped; Lamoille and Winooski rivers, wind through farms and forested countryside. You can rent a canoe or kayak, we suggest Umiak on Rt 100, and go by yourself or take a guided tour. Doesn’t matter whether you have experience. Just pack a lunch and enjoy yourself.

Fishing

Fly fishing for trout is a great adventure in the many streams, rivers and ponds surrounding Stowe. Catamount Fishing Adventures can plan the whole thing for you, whether you are an experienced fisherman or a novice.

Snowmobiling

We recommend, Umiak Outfitters on Rt. 100, just before town. Custom tours with stops for refreshments, lunch or dinner can be arranged for corporate groups.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing has become one of our favorite activities in the winter and Stowe has some of the best places to enjoy it. The Recreation Path is one with fairly level terrain. We like to start either in town or at the mountain end, shoe to Ideltyme Brewing, have lunch and head back. A little more demanding, but quite beautiful is the track in Wiessner Woods. Lots of trails and a very good work-out. Umiak Outfitters has a number of snowshoe tours available. We like the Moonlight Cabin Tour, a 3 hour trip (6:30-9:30pm) where you are led through the woods in the moonlight (or headlamp) to a hidden cabin. By a warm fire, you’ll enjoy cheese, crackers and hot cider. Easy trip. Rentals available at Umiak or Pinnacle on the Mountain Road.

Hiking

Perhaps, you’ll feel the need to work off those lunches and dinners with an invigorating hike in the mountains. The Pinnacle Trail is a relatively short hike located east of town. The trailhead in Stowe Hollow is a 2.8-mile drive from Main Street on mostly paved roads. From the trailhead it’s a 1.4-mile hike to the summit of the Pinnacle, a 2,740-foot peak in the Worcester Range (the eastern border of Stowe).

Horseback Riding

Trail riding on horseback is a year round adventure in Stowe, beautiful amidst the lush greenery of summer or the peaceful solitude of newly fallen snow. Topnotch just off the Mountain Road is the best.

Sights/Tours

Last but not least, there’s the sightseeing excursion. Visit the world famous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory on Route 100 in Waterbury, 15 minutes from Stowe. Then drive north on Rt. 89, about 15 minutes to the Cabot Creamery and see how Vermont cheddars are produced. No visit to Stowe would be complete without a visit to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill for fresh cider and wonderful cider donuts.

Mountain View Tours include “Historic Stowe” and “Foliage” tours.

Antiques/Galleries

There are many roadside antique stores along Route 100 leading up to Stowe, Early Vermont Antiques (802-244-5373) is just one, across from the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury. There are also more across from the Cold Hollow Cider Mill a little farther up the road. See the Vermont Antique Trail.

For art galleries, there is Robert Paul Gallery in the Baggy Knees Center on Mountain Road and the Helen Day Art Center on Pond & School Streets in Stowe Village.

The Arts

Visit Stowe Today for the latest on arts, theater, music, film and more in the Valley.

Theater

Stowe Theatre Guild, Town Hall Theater, presents popular productions throughout most of the year.

Soaring/Ballooning

Two of the best ways to really appreciate the beauty of the mountains are glider and hot air balloon rides. Stowe Soaring offers sailplane rides for 1 or 2 people. An unforgettable experience gliding over the mountains. Stoweflake Resort offers hot air balloon rides Spring thru Fall.

Shopping

All shopping trips start at Shaws General Store, in the heart of town has been there forever and carries things you never thought about. Visit Stowe Gems for handcrafted gold, silver and platinum, Stowe Kitchen, Bath and Linens on the Mountain Road for a great selection of items for your home, the Yellow Turtle for children’s wear. Try Well Heeled on the Mountain Road for great women’s shoes.

Dont Miss

  • Any activity on the Recreation Path
  • Breakfast at Butler’s Pantry
  • Cold Hollow Cider Mill
  • Shaw’s General Store
  • harvest market
  • Lunch at the top of the mountain
  • Dinner at Hen of the Wood

Good to Know, Good to Go

News and Resources

Go Stowe is the resort town’s web site. The Stowe Reporter has been the hometown newspaper for 52 years. Stowe Today reports on the arts.

Food & Drink

Breakfast

With the closing of McCarthy’s after 40+ years we went on a quest during our last visit for a replacement. The verdict is in and our new favorite is the Butler’s Pantry on Main Street. Excellent breakfast, cozy surroundings, intimate bar seating and….wait for it….breakfast cocktails.

Lunch/Brunch

Two choices for great views; Flannel at the Topnotch Resort has a delightful lunch menu and spectacular views of the valley and mountains. Try the porcini dusted fries with garlic aioli. Take the Gondola up to the top of the mountain to the renovated Cliff House and enjoy vistas of the entire area. For cozy and warm, I love The Whip at the Green Mountain Inn in the village. Roaring fireplaces, intimate booths, great soups and sandwiches. In warmer weather there is also a delightful patio. Ideltyme Brewing has a great beer line-up and a delicious burger. For a fantastic beer selection and excellent German/Austrian food head to the Von Trapp Brewery.

Lunch While Skiing

Hourglass at the Stowe Mountain Lodge. Great atmosphere. Micro brews and delicious food. Ski in-ski out.

Burger

Try The Bench for their 1/4 lb. LaPlatte River Angus Farm Ground Beef and get some Salt & Vinegar fries.

Wine Bar

Cork Restaurant and Wine Shop is a great stop for wine, cheese and charcuterie. Opens at noon.

Breweries

Stowe is home to 3 breweries, one of which, The Alchemist, is nationally recognized (Heddy Topper beer). The others are Idletyme Brewing Company and Von Trapp Brewery. See Stowe Tasting Tours.

Apres Ski

The bar at the Stowe Mountain Lodge has a good selection of beers and makes a delicious hot cider with rum and tuaca. Come down off the mountain and stop at The Matterhorn, the choice for most after a day on the slopes. Great beers, live entertainment, sushi bar, outside grilling when the weather permits and wonderful creek side views.

Appetizers

Want a little something before dinner or late afternoon snack? Try the Hourglass at the Stowe Mountain Lodge or The Matterhorn , on the Mountain Road which has a full sushi bar as well as other goodies.

Cocktails

Here’s my favorites for a drink before dinner; The Riverhouse at Stowe Inn, just outside of town, has a delightful bar in a three tier restaurant. You can have drinks on the patio or up at the bar overlooking the creek. Topnotch’s The Roost is very popular, has great mountain views and a killer martini menu.

Activities/Shopping

After Dinner Fun

Fritz Bar and Restaurant at the Stowehof usually has a single or duo performing easy listening type music. For dancing and live bands, go to The Rusty Nail, on the Rec Path or the Matterhorn, on the Mountain Road. Like the movies? Stowe Movie Theatre, just outside of town on the Mountain Road, has first run movies and a VIP section in which they serve cocktails!

While Away a Rainy Day

Tre Amigos , on the Mountain Road, next to the Rec Path has decent food, good beer selection, lots of TV’s. The Whip has a great bar, the best Bloody Mary in town, lots of good beers on tap, a good list of wines by the glass and good appetizers.

Morning Paper

Alpine Mart (Texaco) Mountain Road. Opens 6am. Papers, Green Mountain Coffee.

Picnic Fixins

harvest market, Mountain Road. Walking into the harvest market is like walking into your grandmother’s house, warmed by the aromas of home cooked foods. Baked goods and breads prepared by their own bakers, homemade salads, gourmet take-out, great sandwiches, cheeses and smoked meats from around the world, tons of coffee beans, jellies and jams, dips and sauces. An afternoon picnic, appetizers for apres-ski, a light supper before the fire…this is the only place to go.

Wine & Cheese

Stowe Wine & Cheese Shop. On the Mountain Road. Over 1000 wines, imported and domestic cheeses and fresh baguettes. Fran and Sue Parda are very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. They are what shop proprietors used to be like.

Equipment Rental

Umiak. Rt 100. Everything you need from skis to snowshoes to bikes and canoes. Great prices. Helpful and friendly.Umiak. Rt 100. Everything you need from skis to snowshoes to bikes and canoes. Great prices. Helpful and friendly.

Get Pampered

Topnotch Spa. This nationally acclaimed spa has it all; hair, nails, pedicures, facials, make-up, massages, mud baths and more. A half day session here will relax you and have you looking your best. Men’s services too. Perhaps a trade-off? Golf for him, spa for you?

Sweet Tooth

The chocolates at Laughing Moon Chocolates, South Main Street in the Village are amazing. The Malt Shop, on Depot Street is a 50’s style fun shop with awesome ice cream.

Work-Out

Except for the Stone Hill Inn, all our BestWeekends.com Featured Properties have health club facilities. Should you elect to stay there, we suggest a work-out at the Swimming Hole, Weeks Hill Rd. off the Mountain Road. $12/day for all equipment and pool. Opens at 6am during the week, 7am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday.

4th of July Parade

Moscow,a small former (current?) hippie community just outside of Stowe. As you climb the hill to this little village you hear the sounds of a big brass band ahead, only to find that everyone along the parade route has tuned their radios to the same station. The Christmas tree float has an extension cord that trails it all the way down the road. Great fun.

Sweatshirts

Shaw’s General Store in the heart of town has everything you would want and more. Just what you would think a Vermont General Store would be like. Fun shopping.

Special Things

“A Sleigh Ride Together”

Stowehof Inn. Nestle in a warm blanket and enjoy a half hour ride on a horse drawn sleigh, through the evening forest. A warm drink at Coslin’s Pub, dinner at Emily’s, doesn’t get any more romantic. After dinner, find one of the many intimate knooks and cranny’s to enjoy coffee or a drink. Sleigh ride/dinner packages are available.

Picnic on the Path

Starting in town and winding its way through the woods, beside vast meadows and along bubbling brooks, this 5.5 mile paved path is listed as #1 on Yahoo Travel’s List of The World’s Best Walks. In warm weather you can walk, bike or roller blade. In winter snowshoe or cross country ski it. Plenty of places to swim or sit on a bench and relax and gaze across open fields and streams. Some options;

1. Park at the northern end (Brook Road) and make your way toward town. You’ll be heading downhill, so the trek is a little easier. Stop about halfway for lunch at the Shed, or continue all the way to town and eat at the Whip or Gracies. Take the Mountain Shuttle back to your car.

2. Stop at the harvest market on the Mountain Road and pick up a picnic lunch. Park at the Path Access off Luce Hill Road across from Stonybrook and make your way north on the Path. About 1.5miles is a beautiful gazebo nestled in the pines alongside a rushing brook, the perfect place for a picnic.

Up, Up and Away…

Spring through Fall, early morning or late afternoon, a hot air balloon ride is an exciting adventure. Drift slowly over the mountains, cruise over Vermont farmlands, the views are nothing short of spectacular. Land safely in an open field and enjoy the traditional champagne toast. FAA certified pilots. Available at Stoweflake Resort on the Mountain Road. @$395 per couple.

Concerts in the Meadow

“The hills are alive with the sound of music” at the Trapp Family Meadow, (Sunday evenings throughout the summer, as part of the -Music in the Meadow” series.) Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and sit under the stars overlooking the valley and the mountains.

Dinner at 3600 feet

The Cliff House at the top of Mt. Mansfield offers its Summit Series dinners on Saturday nights throughout the ski season. It includes a gondola ride up the mountain with hot cider, a fleece blanket and lantern. Upon arrival there’s a champagne reception and then a 5 course meal focusing on local Vermont products while you are entertained with a jazz quartet. The menu changes every week. 6 and 7pm seatings. These sell out very quickly, so make reservations early.

Where To Stay

Edson Hill Manor

OVERVIEW Make-overs are popular today, on the web and in magazines. People love the “before” and “after” shots, I think because of our innate appreciation of “second chances”. Edson Hill Manor in Stowe, Vermont has always been the quintessential Vermont inn; cozy, fireplaces roaring, pine paneled walls and welcome hosts. While it was a comfortable...…

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Green Mountain Inn

OVERVIEW Since 1833, the historic Green Mountain Inn, located in the center of town at the base of the Mountain Road has been welcoming guests to this year round country inn. With 104 antique filled rooms and suites, the Inn has a complete list of amenities, including a restaurant, bar, health club and pool. Yet...…

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Lodge at Spruce Peak

OVERVIEW The dramatic Spruce Peak opened in September 2008 and is destined to take its place beside the great resorts out West in the best ski areas.The $400 million project includes 300 luxury guestrooms and private mountain cabins, a new base lodge, upscale retail shops (think Ralph Lauren), a marvelous 21,000 sq. ft spa and wellness...…

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Stone Hill Inn

OVERVIEW Nestled on a small hill just off the Mountain Road the Stone Hill Inn is an exquisite luxury B&B that may be one of the most relaxing and romantic places you will encounter. Delightfully decorated rooms include two way fireplaces into the bedroom and bathroom. Everything about this cozy Inn is soothing and designed...…

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Stowe Meadows, Elmore

Features:

OVERVIEW Elmore is a few miles outside of Stowe and the drive to Stowe Meadows takes you up the mountain and through the woods, but you’ll be rewarded for the trek with a gorgeous luxury B&B with stunning mountain views and owners who couldn’t be more hospitable and accommodating. Perched on a hilltop overlooking a...…

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Topnotch Resort

OVERVIEW Topnotch Resort & Spa completed a major renovation in the summer of 2013 that introduced a new entryway, lobby and lobby lounge, The Roost and the re-branding of Norma’s restaurant as The Flannel. The design offers a contemporary take on the quintessential Vermont lodge and blends nicely with the existing structure. The latest upgrade...…

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Where To Eat

Harrison’s Restaurant & Bar

Kathy Kneale and her son Andrew Kneale opened Harrison's Restaurant in December of 2003. Their goal was to create a restaurant that was a reflection of each of their lives growing up and working in Stowe, they wanted a place where locals and visitors alike could enjoy comfortable, creative and affordable food in an environment…

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Hen of the Wood

A tip from a local in Stowe, took us to a quite amazing restaurant in Waterbury, about a 15 minute drive from Stowe. Hen of the Wood, is a collaboration of two old friends, both trained at culinary institutes, who talked for years about the place they would someday open. Using locally raised meats and…

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Michael’s on the Hill

Michael's is the most romantic restaurant in town and one we never miss when we are in the area. You enter the old converted farmhouse down a stone walk bordered by colorful flowers (or snow!). The living room, has comfortable seating while waiting for your table and it's where a pianist entertains behind a baby…

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The Pitcher Inn

About 30-45 minutes south of Stowe on Rt. 100 is the picturesque little village of Warren, Vermont, just outside the Sugarbush ski area. A little bit of a trip, but I assure you it is worth the drive. I think there must be a "perfect storm" for dinners when everything comes together to create an…

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Trattoria La Festa

We never miss Trattoria La Festa when we are in Stowe. It's not fancy or upscale, but the owners always seem to be genuinely happy to see you and everyone is having fun. Picture barn wood and red walls, checkered tablecloths, wine bottles with candles, wonderful music, the aromas of Tuscany and you can imagine…

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May 2020: Little Nell

This months featured property is… charming and sweet. THE ROOMS In 2017, Champalimaud Design refreshed all 86 rooms and suites and all guest floor corridors. The approach was to reinvigorate the spaces to be fresh, light and welcoming, utilizing palettes of blue, tan and grey to complement the relaxed nature of Aspen. Key features include… read more.

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